Freedom Writers is an American movie of 2007 directed by Richard LaGravenese and being based on the work written by Erin Gruwell ‘The Freedom Writers Diary’. It is necessary to stress that the film covers deep sociological problems, concepts of race discrimination and rights for freedom. The analysis of the movie gives an opportunity to observe the introduction of theoretical sociology and psychology being connected with intercultural interactions and interpersonal difficulties.
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Differential association theory
Introduced by Edwin Sutherland is connected with the methods of criminal behavior learning through social interactions. The author of the theory identifies the crime as an integral part of social behavior; he states that crime concept is a part of political and sociological forces. It is necessary to underline the fact that the concepts and postulates described by Sutherland are brightly illustrated in the movie under analysis. Theory states that criminal behavior learning takes place in personal groups and centralizes the significance of social disorganization observed in the crime context. (Goode, 2008)
In every war there is an enemy. I watched my mother as
being half beaten to death. And watched as blood
and tears streamed down her face. I felt useless and scared,
and furious at the same time. (Freedom Writers, 2007)
The atmosphere of social cruelty brings up crime behavior from the very childhood; this crime concept is distinctly described in the movie. Theorist expressed the point that criminal behavior is the result of social values and needs expression being formed within definite social groups and influenced by social pressure. The students are described carrying guns and knives imitating the style and atmosphere they live in.
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Violence only begets violence (Freedom Writers, 2007)
The theory is illustrated through colonialism introduction leading to racism and criminal behavior.
Control bond theory
Is based on the principle that delinquency can be predicted by weakened bonds; the theory states that delinquency is considered to be the result of social training process.
You are amateurs. This gang will put you all to shame.
And they started out poor and angry and everybody
looked down on them. (Freedom Writers, 2007)
Control bond theory identifies criminal behavior as the consequence of strong bonds and moral behavior; gang members are perceived as unpredictable personalities having weak ties expressed to social groups.
My friends are soldiers. Not of war but of the streets.
They fight for their lives. (Freedom Writers, 2007)
The movie represents the idea that all the students of uncontrolled behavior suffered offenses on the part of the society leading to the formation of cruelty and indifference to the world.
At sixteen, I seen more dead bodies than a mortician…
To the outside world they’re just another dead
body on the street corner. They don’t know that he was
my friend. (Freedom Writers, 2007)
Control theory concepts described in the movie give an opportunity to analyze deep psychological sense in the way school teacher tried to treat and communicate with uncontrolled youth.
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Is considered to be based on the idea of labeling the offenders as deviant; the study reflects the deviance as a socially constructed phenomenon out of personal behavior formation. The labeling process in the movie can be observed on the example of racial discrimination and reputation significance within the group of students.
My brother taught me what the life is for a young black man.
Do what you have to. (Freedom Writers, 2007)
Besides, the rate of crimes in the society illustrated in the movie is closely connected with racial discrimination and intercultural contradictions in the society.
The contemporary gangster film best embodies the
ambivalence of film makers towards ethnicity and race. (Freedom Writers Analysis)
The students are described as a separate community being under the influence of crime filled environment. The problems of ethnical minorities and racial discrimination are considered to be centralized issues in labeling theory introduction.
Rational choice/exchange theory
Is based on the principle of getting social power through fighting valued recourses within groups; the theory covers groups’ conflicts for the social dominance and leadership. The rationality of social behavior in accordance with theoretical study is based on the principle of acting following only personal interests.
He sometimes tries to hurt my mom and me.
I feel like I have to protect my family. (Freedom Writers, 2007)
The basic elements of the theory are shown in the movie through students’ conflicts and ignorance to each other striving to care of personal destiny and position within social group. (Hollin, 2001)
Is concentrated on the analysis of structural inequalities in the society – socioeconomic status, poverty or racial inequalities. Robert Merton argued that people attain their aims through all the means available in the society without taking into account any moral sets or values.
But even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can,
within their own small ways, turn on a small
light in a dark room. (Freedom Writers, 2007)
The theory described through the movie shows the idea that everyone can reach his goals whatever the cost ignoring social regulations. (Hutchison, 2003)
So, the movie Freedom Writers managed to reflect the world of criminal life experience by young people who belonged to different ethnical and racial groups. The characters used to demonstrate various forms of language, world perception and life experience. The author described various fates of young people through their psychological behavior study and examination of their direct intention.
Freedom Writers Analysis, 2008. Web.
Goode, Erich. Out of Control: Assessing the General Theory of Crime. Stanford University Press, 2008.
Hollin, Clive. Criminal Behavior: a Psychological Approach to Explanation and Prevention. Routledge, 2001.
Hutchison, Elizabeth. Dimensions of Human Behavior. SAGE, 2003.